(Grade 2 and up) Jake, the youngest in his family, lives on a farm with his parents, his older brother and sister, and his grandfather, Billy. Jake and Billy have always been close; the two take walks around the farm together, greet the animals, and visit Billy’s old sod house, the place he lived as a boy back when his own parents worked the farm. Jake thinks that Billy will always be around, but Billy is old, and after he gets sick, Jake decides, in spite of some initial reservations, that he needs to do as Billy asked: he needs to build his grandfather a new sod house.
I checked this book out without realizing that it’s by the author of “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” which I read earlier this summer, and though this may be a testament to how spacey I can be, it’s also indicative of my love of sweet family stories, at least in moderation. (As soon as you see the cover of this book, you can pretty much guess what kind of story it’s going to be.) When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on adult books, but as an adult, I frequently feel tired of angst (to the point of avoiding it like the plague when I go to select new books) and eager for stuff like this, which was short and sweet and heartfelt, complete with an almost magical dog.
Though older readers will see the ending coming a mile away, I fully agree with the notion that it’s often better to anticipate the ending you know is coming than to be thrown a curveball in the final pages of a novel. If you’re looking for something that’s both refreshingly light but still moving, read this. Soon, I’m going to need to check out the sequels to “Sarah, Plain and Tall” too; I’m reading “The Stranger” right now, so I’m probably going to need a pick me up after that. (4 out of 5 stars)
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060522976
- ISBN-13: 978-0060522971 (Source of Publication Data: Amazon.com)